Multiple Streams of Income for Business Mums

Back in December, I mentioned that I was trying a multiple streams approach to starting a business. My idea was that I’d balance a means of earning an income fairly quickly with one that was more of a slow burner. The fast earner is doing some admin for a bookkeeper friend –  I can learn my friend’s system quickly and get paid at the end of the month. The slow burner is this website – I’ve got a lot to learn and do to earn an income from an information website, but once I’ve cracked it, there are all sorts of possibilities including blogging, a membership site, e-books, podcasts and no doubt many other ways I’ve not even considered yet.

The more business mums I talk to, the more multiple streamers I find. We’re so used to looking for one big business idea that the multiple streams approach isn’t mentioned too often, but it has real benefits for business mums:

  • Like me, you can balance two income streams that serve you in different ways. Such as a long term project that will take a while to pay off balanced with freelance work from your old employer.
  • If you have very young children, you can start one stream during nap times, then create more streams as the children get older.
  • You never know who you might meet when networking. You could collaborate with another business mum on a new income stream, but keep working alone on an existing stream.
  • Do you like variety? You can have several complementary streams running at the same time. Or several totally different ones
  • An income stream that you felt passionate about initially might lose its appeal after a few years. You could outsource the work or sell it off completely and expand another one of your income streams to fill the gap.
  • If you’ve built up expertise and a reputation, you could sell your knowledge as an e-book, a course or as a consultant.
  • If you have several income streams, you don’t have all your business eggs in one basket.

So what about the downside? It’s very easy to be distracted as a self-employed homeworker and easier still to be distracted by young children. Add in several projects running at the same time and  unless you are very focused, you might find yourself doing nowhere fast!

If you find staying on track a challenge, then you may be better off with just one income stream – it’s better do one thing well than several things badly.

For each stream, you’ll need to be clear about what you aim to achieve and how you’re going to do it.You may find it’s best to get one stream well established and bringing in a reliable income before you start the next.

Do you have a multiple streams approach? Drop me a comment and let me know how it works for you.

 

 

Get Yourself More Time As A Work At Home Mum – 8 Top Tips

If you’re a mum to small children, there’s never enough time, especially to run a business. My theory is that if I can claw back as much time as possible from household tasks, I can use that time on my business.

Yes, I’ll admit I’m not the world’s best housewife, but life’s too short for perfection.

This was going to be a top ten list, but I had to go and clean the kitchen! Do you have a tip you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear it so please do drop me a comment.

1. Decide on the level of chaos you can tolerate and don’t do any more housework than you need to keep your sanity

We all have different standards when it comes to cleanliness and tidiness, so make sure you’re working to your own standards rather than someone elses. After all, it’s your house.

It’s OK to leave a certain amount of mess for later. If everything has to be  clean and tidy before you start work, you’ll never start work! On the other hand, a lot of mess can be distracting and depressing if you have to work in the midst of it. Decide what level of mess you can tolerate and let the rest go, for now at least.

2. Don’t iron unless you really need to

Where possible, buy clothes that don’t need ironing. And don’t iron things that don’t really need ironing such as bed sheets, jeans and t shirts. If you hang out clothes to dry carefully, it’s amazing how many items you can get away with not ironing.

3. Clean the bathroom when the kids are in the bath

Clean the loo and washbasin when the kids are in the bath. You’ll be there to supervise them and you’ll just need to whizz around the bath after they get out.

4. Get a slow cooker

These are absolutely brilliant. You spend 10 minutes throwing in some meat, veg and sauce ingredients at breakfast time and you have a delicious home-cooked meal ready and waiting in the evening.You can even cheat and use a packet sauce, many are pretty healthy these days (check the label, obviously). I get a wonderful smug feeling knowing that my eveing meal is taken care of by 9.30 in the morning!

You can do much more than just casseroles too-  try curries, pasta sauces, soups and pot roasting joints. Even rice pudding!

My top tip is to buy one with both a high and low heat setting. The low setting takes 6 to 8 hours to cook, the high setting takes 3 to 4 hours. Which means that if you have an especially chaotic breakfast time, you can get the slow cooker on at lunchtime instead.

Even better, get a slow cooker that’s bigger than you need so you can cook extra and  freeze a couple of portions for another day.

5. Get a breadmaker

This means you never have to stop what you’re doing, bundle everyone into their coats and pushchairs and dash down the shops because you’ve run out of bread. Providing you’ve got a stash of flour, dried yeast, salt, sugar and margarine, which isn’t hard to do as they all keep for ages.

6. Do your grocery shopping online

I thought this was a no-brainer, but I’m surprised how many people have said to me  ‘I bet the supermarket isn’t much fun with a baby and a toddler, is it?’. Er, no it’s not!

7. Have a ‘ten minute tidy’ at the start of nap time, then get down to work

If you’re lucky enough to have children that nap, spend ten minutes having a speedy tidy up then leave the rest. Tidying is much quicker without little people around, but don’t let it suck you in so you accidentally spend the whole of nap time cleaning.

I kid myself that the faster I go, the more calories I burn. Well, I can dream!

8. Ask for help

If you work from home, it’s easy for other family members to assume that you’ll do all the housework and cooking, just because you’re there. Not only does this eat into your working time, if you teach young children that mummy isn’t the only one who does housework, they’ll be in good habits for later in life.

Business Mums’ Networking Groups

(This post was last updated on 22/3/12)

Networking groups for business mums are popping up all over the place at the moment. ‘Traditional’ business networking groups often don’t suit business mums too well, so they are setting up their own.

Mums are finding that typical business networking groups are held either over breakfast or in the early evening – the busiest times of the day if you have a young family. Also, the way some networking groups are structured feels a bit too stiff and formal for many, who are looking for a much more warm and relaxed feel.

If you’re wondering whether to give one a try, I really do recommend you give it a go. As well as making business contacts, you’ll be inspired by what other mums are achieving and if you miss the company of the guys in the office, a networking group could help you fill that gap.

Here are the groups that I know of, but I’m sure there must be more out there:

Mum’s The Boss – Expanding all over the UK

Busy Mums – Stafford

Networking Mummies– Dorset, Warwickshire and growing throughout the UK.

Enterprising Mums – Hitchin, Herts

Mums Business Club – Throughout the UK

Mums In Biz – Brighton and West Sussex

FIND – Durham

Mumpreneurs Networking Club – South East/ south coast

Motivating Mum – London

Scottish Mumpreneur Network – Scotland

Ladies Who Latte – UK – wide

MumsUnLtd@Viva -website coming soon, in the meantime events are listed on the Viva Networking website or email events@viva-networking.co.uk .

Business Mums Connect – Surrey and Hampshire

morningmums.co.uk – Wirral

Do you know of any more? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list

Creative Commons License photo credit: MrB-MMX

Wishing you a biscuity Christmas!

Unless I’m feeling especially energetic, this is going to be my last post before Christmas. So I thought I’d make it a bit seasonal and join in Mum’s The Boss’s Christmas Baking Blog Carnival.

At first glance, this recipe doesn’t look very Christmassy, although throwing in a handful of raisins makes it even better and I think a teaspoon of mixed spice would work too.  The Christmas bit comes from the story behind it, let me explain.

Last year my then-85-year-old gran told the family that there was nothing she wanted for Christmas, but if we really insisted, she’d like some biscuits (cookies) please. She enjoys having friends round for coffee and likes to offer them a nice biscuit.

Now I really admire her for getting to the point in her life where all she wants is her friends, family and a plate of biscuits to share. I’d love to be like that when I’m 85. But it didn’t feel right to wrap up a packet of digestives as a Christmas present. Even if they were chocolate ones.

My gran is diabetic so I looked through my books for a recipe that was halfway to being healthy, as a diabetic biscuit wasn’t going to be much of a treat. I found this recipe in the Netmums ‘Feeding Kids’ book (which is excellent, by the way). I made a double batch, used star-shaped cutters and froze them so Gran could take out a plateful a few hours before her friends arrived.

It’s hard the believe that biscuits that are just oats, sugar, butter and a bit of flour can taste so good, but they are gorgeous – really crisp and light. So easy you could make them with children and they freeze well, too. So without further ado, let me introduce…

Easy Oaty Biscuits

100g butter

50g caster sugar

100g rolled oats

50g plain flour

Cream butter and sugar together, add oats and work into a dough. Knead until smooth, roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes with biscuit cutters. Bake in preheated oven (170 deg C/325 deg F/gas 3) for 20 mins. Leave on tray for 5 minutes, then cool on a rack.

Right, I’m off to make a fresh batch for this year. Merry Christmas!

Business Ideas For Mums: Complementary and Sports Therapies

Tell me more…

Many mums have always wanted to work in health or sport,  so take opportunity to retrain as therapists when they have children. There is a huge range of therapies to choose from, including:

  • Sports massage, sports therapies, teaching yoga, pilates and tai chi
  • Herbal, homeopathic, aromatherapy, flower remedies
  • Reiki, energy healing, spiritual healing, crystal therapy, teaching meditation.
  • Hypnotherapy, counselling, psychotherapy, neuro linguistic programming (NLP)
  • Chiropractic, osteopathy
  • Reflexology, hopi ear candles, stone therapy, Alexander Technique
  • And many more!

What are the benefits?

  • You can choose how many hours you work
  • You can work weekends and evenings
  • This could be the chance to do the type of work you've always wanted to do

Things to consider…

-You can work from home, in other people's homes or rent a room from a clinic, natural therapy centre or hairdressing salon. If you work from a clinic, centre or salon, you will almost certainly have to do some , if not all, of your own marketing. -Marketing methods that work well for this type of business are –

  • Taster sessions (perhaps as part of a pampering evening) often run as fundraisers for schools.
  • A leaflet campaign backed up by a website which gives people further info – leaflets could got through local people's doors, be left in business centre receptions, GP surgeries, libraries, railway stations, gyms or handed out to everyone you know.
  • Local websites such as gumtree.com
  • Postcards in local shop windows.
  • Get an article in a local newspaper.
  • Use your car – put a sign in the back window or magnetic adverts on the doors (check out Vistaprint.co.uk).

-This article covers a huge range of therapies, so the time and effort needed to get qualified varies enormously from a weekend to a five year degree course. The first place to look for training would be your local further education college or try Natural Therapy Pages. -You can do some training by distance learning, although you'll need to weigh up how effective this is for learning 'hands on' skills. You can study subjects such as anatomy and physiology successfully, though.

Further information

Healthypages is a mine of useful information and a place to advertise your services ITEC – exam board for beauty and complementary therapies as well as yoga, pilates etc. Not convinced that complementary or sport therapies are for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.